by Mike Ferguson
(St. Charles, MO) – The debate isn’t just in Indiana. It isn’t just in Colorado or Alabama. It’s in the Show Me State.
Where does your right to run your business based on your religious values end? Should it end?
Those are among the questions behind the effort to pass Religious Freedom Protection Act laws across the country, including in Missouri.
The viewpoints are based on moral, religious, political, economic and legal reasons and are very personal to Missourians in some way. Lawmakers and judges will decide the state’s official positions on these in the coming months and years and that will likely impact everyone in some way.
Ryan Johnson from the Missouri Alliance For Freedom and Jeffrey Mittman from the ACLU of Missouri offer two very different perspectives on how the law and the courts should prioritize whose rights are protected first when values clash in business, on campus and in society overall.
Johnson and Mittman also discuss a proposal to allow student groups on state college and university campuses to set their own criteria for membership. Specifically, faith-based clubs would be protected by law if they require members to be of the same beliefs.
While supporters of religious freedom protection laws say it’s about the right to live your life in accordance with your personal values and beliefs even if those beliefs require you to decline business with someone, as is the case with the Christian businesses who find themselves in conflict with the law in other states. A bakery in one, a florist in another and a wedding chapel somewhere else turned down business because they did not want to take part in a same-sex wedding.
Opponents of the religious freedom protection laws say that’s discrimination and should not be legal regardless of the business owners’ personal convictions.
On the web:
Missouri Alliance for Freedom: www.MissouriFreedom.com
ACLU of Missouri: www.aclu-mo.org